2005 Mission Report: Thailand House of Representatives Election
Increasing political liberalization has established a culture of democratic elections and parliamentary rule as an institutionalized part of political life in Thailand. In electoral terms, a new political benchmark was set with the unprecedented level of popular participation in the political reform process leading up to the promulgation of the 1997 Constitution. For the first time since the transition from absolute to constitutional monarchy in 1932, Thailand has a constitution that recognizes that sovereign power belongs to the people, and that the bicameral parliament must be chosen only through a democratic electoral process. Although steps toward establishing the type of democracy envisioned by the 1997 Constitution were initially made with the holding of the first senatorial elections during the first half of 2000, it is clear today that a gap still exists between the ideals set out in the 1997 Constitution and actual practices in the electoral process.